Fit to Ride: Mental crosstraining

Biz Stamm takes a break from the dressage ring to try her hand (yep, just one hand–and no, Biz, we have no idea what you’re supposed to do with the other one either) at reining.

From Biz:

This week’s column is another regarding mental fitness.  I’m a strong believer that, just like horses, people can get ring sour.  Doing the same thing every day can get quite monotonous no matter how much you love it.  For that reason, from time to time I make a point of trying out a new discipline.  Not only does this break me out of my daily routine a bit, I always manage to learn a thing or two that I can apply to my own riding and training.

This past winter, I had the pleasure of trying out some reining with Jenny Freeborn.  Jenny and her fantastic horse, Peanut, showed me the basics of circles and spins, two of the major movements found in reining patterns. She also explained to me what judges are looking for with each of the two movements.

Circles:  There are two types of circles associated with reining.  There are the large, fast circles, and small, slow circles.  The judges are looking for these circles to be accurate, and round, and for there to be a distinct difference between the slow and fast speeds.

Spins: Should be fast and flat.  The hind end should remain relatively stationary while the front end pivots around.  Jenny explained to me that it’s important to achieve proper form and technique before upping the speed in your spins.

Let’s see how I did!  Jenny demonstrates how each movement is suppose to be done first, and then I give it my best shot.

Did you happen to notice that Jenny was riding bareback?  Well she and Peanut have done some really impressive stuff bareback and bridleless.  I’ll leave you with a video of this superb display of horsemanship.

I’d like to extend a HUGE thank you to Jenny for taking the time to teach me about reining.  I look forward to learning more in the future! It was great fun and I highly recommend that you all go out there and give reining a go.

Go riding!

Don’t forget to get your entries in for the “Fit to Ride” t-shirt contest!

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